DonnaM » Blog Archive » Settling back into work

Settling back into work

The last couple of months have been a bit strange. I’ve had changes to my personal life, moved house and been overseas to a conference. I’ve also been lugging my computer around more and sitting for longer hours in a bad chair.

My usual work pattern is to figure out what I want to do, sit down and concentrate for a couple of hours, burning through work. My colleagues know how much I can get through in a short time and often comment on it. I like being able to work like this. I love the feeling of flow, and love feeling my brain work hard for extended periods.

In the messiness of the past few months, my work has suffered. I’ve been feeling incredibly unsettled, haven’t been able to concentrate and straightforward work has been taking much longer than usual. I hate this feeling. I’m still doing good work, but it is slower and I’m not as happy with it. I’m not getting satisfaction out of working.

But today was different. For the first time in ages, I sat down, wrote my to-do list and *worked*. I stopped a couple of hours later, and knew I had achieved. I felt good.

It wasn’t just a fluke. I did some things to make this work:

  • I had a massage Monday, for the first time in a long time, and am finally not stiff and not in pain. I hadn’t realised how much the back pain was affecting my brain
  • I woke, had breakfast, showered, dressed…then turned the computer on (I usually check twitter and mail before anything)
  • I wrote my list of things to do
  • I turned off mail, twitter and distractions
  • I turned on music
  • I started at the top of my list
  • When I felt like being distracted and checking mail or doing something trivial, I just stopped myself. I just didn’t allow it to happen

Ahhhh…back to normal. That’s nice.

How do you keep going in times of unsettledness?

3 Responses to “Settling back into work”

  1. Maxine Sherrin Says:

    Ummmm, I usually don’t keep going in times of unsettledness, that is their nature :)

    But your description as above of one of those days when you feel it’s possible you just might get back into the swing of things is spot on. I’ve always been a big fan of the simplicity of the good old list as a productivity tool. Today I was very happy to give Todoist a go – try it out if you haven’t already.

  2. Gary Barber Says:

    Ninja Stealth Mode™ – like you do, turn everything off.

    Email off
    Twitter off
    Feed reader off
    Phone (land and mobile) – to voice mail
    Skype – off
    IM – off

    Ensure the work you are doing doesn’t need to reference email, it it does export the email in question.

    But Still I get bored and my mind wanders off into various ideas, so I write them down, document. this allows me to focus back on the task at hand.

  3. Andrew Boyd Says:

    Hi Donna,

    first last and always – look after yourself emotionally when everything is going to hell around you.

    Concentration is important, task completion is important, getting paid is important, but life is quite literally vital – in the past I’ve fallen into the trap of just doing it when clients demanded it, and regretted it later.

    Watch those that demand this kind of dedication – they are often the ones who do not expect it of themselves.

    Best regards, Andrew

Leave a Reply